MEC Gade launches EC Reading Strategy at ICC

Author: ECDOE
Date: 04 October 2022

Honourable Deputy Minister, Dr Mhaule, MP
Acting Head of the Department, Mr M Qwase
Deputy Directors General
Members of Senior Management Service
Social Partners
Corporate partners
Reading Practitioners
Publishing Houses  
Media Houses present
Media Houses joining us online
Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me take this opportunity and greet you all on this occasion which is meant to transform our sector.

Today I have a singular honour to comment on this august occasion, the launch of the Eastern Cape Reading Strategy 2022-2030.

As a Province, we have a responsibility to deliver quality education for all children, especially the poorest of the poor. It is our constitutional obligation and our apex priority in the 6th term of the governing party, the ANC.

We are launching the Provincial Reading Strategy to accelerate efforts of teaching Reading with meaning and comprehension by end of the third grade throughout the system.

Researchers have indicated that inadequate instruction is the root cause of our reading quagmire, and the rest are just ‘peripherals.’  The Eastern Cape Reading Strategy builds on the existing reading ecosystem on how to address our reading challenges in the province.

As we understand it, the foundation of any quality basic education is based on reading, reading for meaning and reading with comprehension.

Reading for meaning, according to researchers, is a research-based strategy that helps all readers build the skills that skilful readers use to make sense of challenging texts.

Regular use of the reading for meaning and understanding means that learners will be able to reflect deeper on their learning after reading and will be able to make connections with other knowledge that they have learned to create more knowledge.

Our Achilles heel in terms of national and international research in reading competence, currently indicate that our learners by age 10 cannot read at the required levels in their Home Language or in the Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT).

This prompted the President of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, announced in his State of the Nation Address, to announce that one of government’s “five fundamental goals for the next decade” is that all children should be able to read for meaning by age ten.

In response to the call by the president, the Minister of Education and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) developed a National Sector Reading Implementation Plan for 2019 to 2023.

The Eastern Cape Department of Education’s (ECDoE) Reading Strategy and Campaign: #Improve Reading to Improve Learning Grades 1-9 (2022-2030) goes beyond the President’s call of ensuring all children aged 10 can read for meaning to include all learners from Grades 1-9 as the need for improving reading has become more critical in the outcome of the learning losses suffered through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Reading Strategy is squarely based on the National Sector Reading Plan with its 10 pillars to strengthen reading but firmly takes into account the context of the Eastern Cape.

Whilst the national strategy introduces a top- down approach i.e., managing the strategy from the national and provincial levels down to schools, the ECDoE has taken an approach to manage the reading strategy from the schools upward.

This strategy to improve reading therefore outlines the requirements necessary to assist all stakeholders to get on board with the activities for the next 8 years.

With this Reading Strategy as the province, we aim to:

  • Build best practice in the teaching of reading and language skills
  • Encourage an enthusiasm and desire for reading.
  • Improve the reading ability of learners so that they are able to take their place in the job market and contribute to economic growth.
  • Build teachers’ capacity to provide top quality teaching in all grades.

provide teachers with the necessary reading resources to teach reading effectively.  

provide the foundation of digital literacy that will enable learners to embrace the technological world.

In doing this we are alive to reality that more needs to be done at all our schools with more support from parents and communities.

We call upon all schools to ensure that:

  1. There is a culture of reading in the school
  2. The school has a policy/strategy on how they will improve


  1. The teachers are skilled to teach reading.
  2. Every classroom has sufficient reading material such as

    textbooks, workbooks, graded readers and readers for leisure

5   Reading is made a priority in every subject.

The 21st century ‘knowledge economy’ demands increasingly sophisticated reading levels from South Africa’s learners.

In pioneering a reading strategy of this magnitude, the ECDOE has demonstrated that solutions to the reading crisis exist and that with the help and support of likeminded private and public partners we will be able to take the reading strategy to realization ensuring that every teacher is trained, and every classroom is print rich and have sufficient resources to teach reading.

This we say understanding very well the economic challenges facing the country and our sector.

As the Department we remain convinced that, if we all believe that Education is a societal issue, Reading cannot and will not improve if the responsibility is left to teachers alone.

Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to call to all stakeholders from the schools which includes the SGB, Parents, the Principal, HoDs, and Teachers to the districts which includes the District Education Forums, Directors, Circuit Managers and Subject Advisors to the Provincial Office that includes all Curriculum Subject Planners, Directors GET, FET and Teacher Development and Inclusive Education, the Chief Directors, DDG, to the HoD and my own office as MEC as necessary agents and collaborators of the Reading Strategy 2022-2030 will together hold each other responsible to ensure that this mandate is carried to its logical conclusion in 2030.

I thank you.